Recognition for unsung coastguards

THERE aren't many professions which involve people having to stop what they are doing at any time of the day to go into work.But for the five volunteer coastguards based at Gorleston and Lowestoft who have received long service awards, the interrupted family meals and wake up calls in the early hours of the morning are worth it for the satisfaction of knowing they have helped save a life.

THERE aren't many professions which involve people having to stop what they are doing at any time of the day to go into work.

But for the five volunteer coastguards based at Gorleston and Lowestoft who have received long service awards, the interrupted family meals and wake up calls in the early hours of the morning are worth it for the satisfaction of knowing they have helped save a life.

As Jim McWilliams, the Coastguard's national search and rescue operations manager, explained: “They go about their work in a very discreet manner. They don't shout about what they do. Their role is being able to help and rescue people at the end of the day and the Maritime and Coastguard Agency is grateful for their help and support on a daily basis.”

The five award recipients included three Gorleston officers - brothers Barry and Clive Williment, who received a valedictory certificate for 38 years service and a long service medal for 40 years service respectively, and John Alterman, who received a 20-year service medal.


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The two Lowestoft coastguards were Paul Gray and Bob Curtis, who received valedictory certificates for 25 and 16 years service respectively.

Clive Williment, 61, of Edinburgh Avenue, Gorleston works as a pilot boat skipper and joined the coastguard over 41 years ago.

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During this time, he has been involved with some dramatic rescues including the search for Norwich student Motar Abudeeb, 19, who went missing and was later found dead, during a family visit to Yarmouth in June 2008. His role was to patrol the beach for signs of the missing teenager.

Other incidents have involved him with police rescues to find missing members of the public.

The father of three said: “It was mainly an interest in the sea that got me involved with the coastguard because I was already very sea orientated. There is also the service to the community aspect which I like. Being in the coastguard involves attending a vast array of incidents.”

Retired hotelier John Alterman, 64, who lives in Gorleston, was in the RAF before joining the coastguard and remembered one occasion when he turned up for his duties in his pyjamas having been called out at 1am, which earned him a rebuke from his seniors!

The father-of-four said: “I was interested in helping people. I live on the coast and somebody's got to do the job.”

Barry Williment is a metal worker with his own workshop near Gorleston Lifeboat station.

Nationally, there are 3,500 volunteers based at nearly 400 coastguard stations and the coastguard is looking for new recruits locally aged between 18 and 65.

Anyone interested in becoming a volunteer coastguard in Gorleston or Lowestoft can write to Rick Stephenson, Sector Manager, HM Coastguard, 4th Floor, Havenbridge House, Great Yarmouth, NR30 1HZ.

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